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Executive Profiles

George Sparks

President and CEO

George Sparks has been the President/CEO of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science since November 2004.  He spent 24 years in the electronics measurement business at Hewlett-Packard and Agilent Technologies.  His career included marketing, sales, and general management of global businesses in software, systems, and services. 

Prior to joining Hewlett-Packard, George spent 9 years in the Air Force as a pilot and as an Assistant Professor of Aeronautics at the USAF Academy (1976-1978). He is a Distinguished Graduate of the USAF Academy with a BS in Aeronautical Engineering, and holds an MS in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT.

George's passion is public policy, particularly around science and education. He is a member of the Colorado Forum, and is on the Boards of Aspen Academy (an independent school), Colorado Education Initiative, Colorado Music Hall of Fame, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Denver School of Science & Technology and National Western Stock Show Association.

He loves his wife and all of his children.

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Mary Hacking

Vice President of Visitor Experience

Mary Hacking leads a significant renovation for the Museum, which includes re-imagining 40,000 square feet of public space on the Museum’s first floor. Additionally, she is responsible for the audience research and evaluation division and the Museum Shop. Hacking joined the Museum in 2001, bringing 25 years of professional experience in marketing, product development, executive leadership, business management, and strategic planning from a variety of industries in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors.

She received her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and her M.A. from Fordham University in New York City. Both degrees were in American history. Before joining the Museum, Hacking was senior vice president of worldwide marketing for IHS Energy Group. Prior to IHS, she was founder and president of Think, a Denver-based marketing firm; president of Barnhart Advertising; and vice president of account service for Karsh & Hagan Advertising. Her personal interests include traveling to the far corners of the world, experiencing and immersing herself in different cultures, learning new languages, and trekking across each of the seven continents.

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Ed Scholz

Vice President of Finance and Business Operations

Ed Scholz is Vice President of Finance and Operations and is responsible for all traditional administrative functions as well as guest, volunteer, and retail food operations. He previously served for over a decade in various financial roles for the City and County of Denver, including as the Budget Director, Deputy CFO, and CFO. As Budget Director, he oversaw a $2 billion citywide budget focused on long-term fiscal and capital improvement planning and performance management.

His studies of music and finance led him to an MBA in non-profit management from Binghamton University in NY and a career that began in development for Public Broadcasting. He has taught local and national courses on performance management and is a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Senior Executives in State and Local Government program. He currently is on the Board of the GLBT Center of Colorado and a member of the Audit Committee for the City and County of Denver. He has also served on several task forces in the metro-area, including the City of Denver Structural Financial Task Force, the Arvada Center Governance Task Force, and the National Western Center Task Force.

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Nancy Walsh

Vice President of Experiences and Partnerships

Nancy Walsh is the Vice President of Experiences and Partnerships at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. She is responsible for the vision, creative direction, and oversight of a diverse array of innovative and engaging programs and exhibitions for all ages, as well as local and national partnerships that advance the Museum’s strategic plan. Ms. Walsh joined the Museum in 2006 as lead educator on the development team for Expedition Health. She was a driving force behind the successful opening and reprogramming of the Museum’s most recent expansion, the Morgridge Family Exploration Center.

Before her appointment as vice president in 2016, Walsh served as director of museum partnerships and programs. Ms. Walsh is passionate about the vibrancy of local communities and access to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM). She has been the principal investigator on multiple grants that have supported innovative programming in this area. She was a mayoral appointee on the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs and as co-chair worked on the city’s cultural plan, Imagine 2020. She currently serves on the boards of the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts, the Art Students League of Denver, and CherryArts. Walsh is a proud alumnus of Leadership Denver. She holds a master’s degree in evolutionary biology from the University of Chicago and is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Earlham College, where she received a bachelor’s in biology.

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Serena Bruzgo

Vice President of Development & Marketing

Serena Bruzgo joined the Denver Museum of Nature & Science in 2016. She leads the Development and Marketing teams, including the planning and execution of all fundraising, marketing, and membership activities. Bruzgo is a Colorado native with over 20 years of experience in developing and implementing fundraising and membership strategies, directing ambitious campaigns, soliciting major gifts, providing exceptional team leadership, and serving as a STEAM advocate.

Prior to joining the Museum, Bruzgo was founder and principal of Community Investment Advisors, a national corporate social responsibility and nonprofit consulting firm. From 2006 to 2014, Bruzgo held progressive leadership roles at the Colorado School of Mines Alumni Association. During her tenure, she expanded global alumni engagement programs, grew the organization’s endowment and membership revenue, served on the President’s Cabinet, and cofounded the Colorado School of Mines Leadership Summit. She also led successful capital and endowment campaigns, major gift, and marketing and digital engagement efforts, for the United States Air Force Academy Association of Graduates, Freedom Service Dogs of America, and Avila University. She is in the inaugural cohort of the Morgridge Accelerator Fellowship Program and serves on the board of the Impact100 Metro Denver as chair of governance and nominating. She is a graduate of Hannibal La Grange University in Missouri. Her personal interests include exploring the world with her family, as scuba divers, Colorado adventurers, and citizen scientists.She serves on the board of the Impact100 Metro Denver as chair of governance and nominating. She is a graduate of Hannibal La Grange University in Missouri. Her personal interests include exploring the world with her family, as scuba divers, Colorado adventurers, and citizen scientists.

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Gabriela Chavarria, PhD

Vice President of Research and Collections

Gabriela Chavarria, PhD, became vice president of research and collections at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science in January 2018.

Dr. Chavarria brings more than 20 years of experience in managing teams of gifted professionals and innovative science programs, influencing policy, developing new scientific collections, and leading scientists in research efforts both nationally and internationally. She is a recognized visionary leader in the scientific world. Prior to joining the Museum, she was senior science advisor and forensic science branch chief at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife National Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Ore.

Growing up in Mexico City, Dr. Chavarria developed a passion for nature and science at an early age, especially for bees. She has devoted her career to the conservation of native pollinators, especially bumble bees. Her recent work as a wood anatomist focused on fighting the illegal trafficking of tropical hardwoods.

She received her bachelor’s degree in biology from the National University of Mexico, and her master’s and PhD in organismic and evolutionary biology from Harvard University, where she studied under Dr. Edward O. Wilson, the researcher, naturalist, entomologist, and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner. She has conducted research in more than 30 countries.

Dr. Chavarria serves on a number of boards and advisory councils, including Science Works Museum in Ashland and the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and has a special commitment to mentoring the next generation of scientists. In January 2019, she was elected to the American Institute of Biological Sciences.

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